George Maharis, well known for playing Buz Murdock on the popular television series Route 66, passed away on May 24 following a 60-year struggle with hepatitis, despite initial reports claiming he passed away on May 25. He never married or had kids, but his sister and brother are still alive.
“On May 25, George Maharis died. George is highly recognized for his role as a Route 66 celebrity, stage performances, singing, and art. But most of all, he is a lovely guy who would go out of his way for anyone.” The longtime friend and caretaker of Maharis, Marc Bahan, posted on Facebook, “My dear buddy, you’ll be sorely missed.”
Maharis started acting in 1953, and over the next seven years, he acted in a number of movies, sitcoms, and television shows, including 1959’s Naked City. The following year (1960), he was chosen to star in Route 66, a Naked City spin-off series, and he did so for the first three seasons before quitting in 1963.
In 1962, Maharis was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Series; E.G. Marshall, the lead of The Defenders, won the prize. He also began recording and playing some of his most well-known music at approximately this period.
He attempted to return to Route 66 after contracting hepatitis in late 1962, but it proved too much due to the long hours and demanding schedule. In a 2007 interview, Maharis recalled the doctor’s warning: “If you don’t get out now, you’re either going to be dead, or you’re going to have permanent liver damage.”
Maharis had to wait almost two years for his physique to handle the strain before returning to the big screen in 1964 with Quick Before It Melts. Over the following three decades, he made numerous appearances in movies, TV shows, and sitcoms. His final role was Mike Wallace in Doppelganger (1993), which marked the end of his career.
When I was a teenager, and he was on Route 66, I had a major crush on George. I read every story about him in magazines. I just bought Route 66’s whole debut season on VHS. I may get it converted to a DVD. One of his followers, who supported the actor/singer throughout his career, commented, “I still have one of his records.”
“Who wasn’t smitten by George? He was one of those famous mid-century manly men I wanted to meet when I grew up, and I knew that when I was a youngster. I’ve always heard that he treated his fans well. I would have loved to have met him. I hope he enjoyed his many years,” a follower commented on Facebook.